The popularity of shark fishing with UK sea anglers continues to grow year on year. This is true for anglers fishing on charter boats as well as private boat owners looking for a chance to tangle with exciting, large, hard fighting predators.
It’s easy to understand why. Shark fishing is now very accessible, relatively affordable and certainly great value for money. Not only does everyone have a very good chance to catch a shark, you may also have the chance to catch a very large shark!
Key UK Shark Species
Let’s look at the various UK shark species you are likely to encounter in UK waters and the best methods for catching them. As a group of species dogfish, smooth hounds, spurdogs and tope are included as sharks in the literal sense and most of these species provide great sport on suitable tackle but we are looking at the larger species here.
Shark fishing in the UK is generally centred on blue and porbeagle sharks.
Blue sharks tend to show from May in the South West, before becoming the predominant catch in the South Wales area from mid-June through to the end of October. The blues vary in size from 20lbs through to over 200lbs, but anything over 80lbs is a great catch and will certainly give a decent account of itself on the right tackle.
Blues are most common in the South West and West Wales and are regarded as an offshore species. They prefer warmer water and become prolific in UK waters from June through to November. They are the best species for beginners to target as fish in the 50-100lb provide good sport and are great for learning how to safely unhook and handle these creatures. Most anglers favour unhooking all sharks in the water to minimise the risk of injuring any sharks captured. Sharks have evolved to have their body weight supported by the water and you risk damaging their internal organs if they are lifted onboard.
The most reliable method for catching blues is drifting with a bag of chum over the side, the chum is a mix of mashed fish, fish oil and bran to soak up the oil and scent from the mashed fish. As the boat drifts these scents will drift away in the tide and sharks will follow the trail to the boat. On the right day this can lead to a large concentration of hungry sharks and a lot of bent rods! There are great opportunities for light tackle sport with blues using large fixed-spool reels and heavy spinning rods. Please remember that in some areas you stand a chance of hooking very large blue, porbeagle or thresher with these tactics so it pays not to go too light.
You can browse our range of recommended blue shark tackle online.
Porbeagle sharks are present in the South West from March as they move inshore, but tend to feature less prominently through the middle of the season before returning in the autumn. In the north of Scotland the season runs from November through to March, and we certainly had customers hooking up before Christmas. These sharks vary in size depending upon the location and the time of year, but last year fish of over 500lbs were released in Cornwall. The current official IGFA world record fish was caught in the Pentland Firth, Caithness, Scotland in March 1993 by Christopher Bennet and weighed 507lbs.
Since the ban on commercial exploitation of porbeagles the population has steadily risen and now they are being found over a much wider area than for many years. At the right time of year porbeagles can be found from the northern most parts of Scotland to Lands End and the Channel Islands. This species prefers cooler water and recent scientific research has revealed that, like its cousin the great white, porbeagles can regulate their body temperature in cold conditions. They are a great species for the angler to target, they fight unbelievably hard and will exploit any weakness in your tackle.
Tactics are similar to those used for blues but as porbeagles are often found much closer inshore and around reefs, wrecks and pinnacle rocks you will generally not be drifting open water in the same way. Trolling methods are well worth trying for porbeagles – there is no doubt that they are attracted by movement. Be aware that these are very powerful fish that need treating with respect and quality tackle.
You can browse our range of recommended porbeagle shark tackle online.
The thresher is the UK’s most enigmatic shark – often hard to find, sometimes hard to catch even though they can be seen jumping close to the boat. They also look quite weird! Thresher fishing is not for anglers who don’t like blank trips. But when you do hook one you may well be treated to a fantastic display of aerobatics and screaming runs that would put a marlin to shame.
Threshers are a double threat to a school of baitfish - the front end is armed with a relatively small mouth filled with sharp teeth. The back end is armed with a long whip like tail that can scythe through a baitfish shoal allowing the shark to double back and mop up the injured. These are open water predators capable of covering large distances hunting their prey. They are generally fished for on the drift.
Where to Fish
Currently the two most prolific shark grounds are located in the South West of England and in South West Wales. However, charter boats are now targeting sharks further east along the channel in response to growing numbers of encounters whilst wreck fishing and this will only serve to open up the accessibility to anglers based in the East and centre of the country.
Historically the grounds off St Catherines Point, Isle of Wight have produced good numbers of porbeagles and occasional threshers, and this fishing should get better as the impact of conservation measures for porbeagles takes effect.
Charter boats targeting porbeagles off the North East coast are also seeing improving results. There is no doubt that other areas will produce sharks if pioneering anglers and skippers are prepared to put the effort into developing new fisheries. Don’t ignore Scotland and Ireland either both have some amazing fishing to offer.
Tackle for UK Shark Fishing
Whenever you fish for sharks there is a possibility that your next run could be the fish of a lifetime so it pays to consider every aspect of the shark tackle you are using very carefully indeed. Large powerful sharks are quick to exploit any weakness in your gear.
Try to check all connections in your wire traces, rubbing leaders and reel line before your bait goes overboard. Double check everything again after each fish too. It’s easy to pick up some damage when playing a large fish close to the boat.
Here are the main tackle items you will need:-
Shark Fishing Rods
Most anglers use a Stand-up Rod for shark fishing - go for a rod with an IGFA line rating. Rods rated for UK boat fishing are not designed for big game fishing and won’t have the required power. You may prefer a rod fitted with rollers - rollers ease the strain on the line during the fight. Many anglers are now switch to bent butt rods. These are great for playing large fish because they lower the angle between the rod and the water allowing you to use the power in the lower part of the rod blank more efficiently.
If you do your fishing from a charter boat you will find the safety rails around the boat will be too high for a bent butt to work so opt for a straight butt or get a second alternative butt if required. For general blue shark fishing a 30lb class outfit is fine but a 50lb class set up is a better option for targeting porbeagles and threshers. In certain circumstances a fixed spool set up with a heavy popping rod is a good option and the longer rod can be useful for keeping fish away from the boat at the end of the fight. Go for the most powerful rod in the range if you decide to go this route.
Shark Fishing Reels
Most will opt for a quality big game fishing multiplier reel ideally with a wide spool (for good line capacity) and two-speed gearing to make life easier for you if a big fish goes deep with the tide running. For a fixed–spool outfit look for one of the quality brands that have designed the reel for playing big game fish.
Shark Fishing Line
There are some choices here. My preference is for a reel loaded with hollow-core braided line fitted with a replaceable 50-100yard wind on top-shot leader. This system gives you the benefits of the finer hollow core to increase line capacity coupled with the abrasion resistance and stretch of the mono top-shot at the business end. A big bonus here is that you can replace the top-shot at sea if required in a few minutes.
Alternatively you can fill the reel with mono or solid braid – mono eats up the line capacity of your reel. Braid has very little stretch so there is little margin for error.
There are a number of wind-on leaders available, which mean you can join the braid to heavy monofilament by a loop-to-loop connection, and wind the heavy mono onto the reel, but you still need to use the conventional wire leader set-up to prevent the shark rolling and biting through the mono. We supply the materials for making these leaders up as well as supplying ready-made wind-ons.
Some specialist anglers are using wire wind-on leaders. These do have advantageous particularly in a small boat where space and movement are limited but we would always urge caution if you intend to be directly connected to a shark by winding wire onto the reel for safety reasons especially if you are also strapped into a harness.
Trace Wire and Crimps
We sell AFW 49-Strand Stainless Steel Shark Leader Cable - this product has proved itself time and time again to be superior to other leader wires on the market. For a start its purpose designed as a shark trace wire and is pre-stretched to prevent slippage. It’s also extra flexible and easy to work with as well as being corrosion resistant. For general shark fishing we recommend the 400lb size moving to the 480lb size where greater durability is required. Cheaper wires may not break at the stated strain, and will almost certainly not stand repeated bouts of tension without the breaking strain reducing. Why risk losing the fish of a lifetime because you have compromised on the wire?
Give your connections extra security by using the Offshore or Flemish Loop. Always use double barrel copper crimps for crimping shark wire - it’s generally not necessary to use two crimps on one connection as long as you crimp the trace correctly. Make sure the crimping pliers you are using are designed for use with the crimps. Aluminium crimps are for use with monofilament line not wire.
Swivels and Snap Links
With regard to swivels and snap links. It is very unlikely that you will break a decent quality barrel swivel. We sell both traditional barrels and the ball bearing barrel swivels. The ball bearings provide a smoother action under load, but in reality, both types in anything over 300lbs will be adequate.
Snap links are a different issue though. Situated between the bite trace and the rubbing leader to allow the rig to be separated, the snap link is in prime position to be involved in the section when a shark rolls, which they do frequently.
Imagine this scenario. If you take a section of wire with a snap link in the middle, you will never pull it apart, even with two people. Now imagine if the wire was looped over a large shark that was twisted or had its body bent. Image the force that that shark can exert by straightening its body out. Again, in a straight pull, the shark will never pull open a snap link of 250lbs, but if that same shark is using its body muscle to leverage against the wire then this can bend out weaker snap links. For this reason we recommend using 440lbs Rosco or AFW snap links.
I personally recommend the AFW Ball Bearing swivels and snap links for all heavy duty big game fishing - these products are tried and tested and never seem to let anyone down. I’ve recently started using Momoi Diamond Escape Proof Ball Bearing Snap Swivel. This clever gizmo is really strong and very easy to clip and unclip - even with cold wet hands. In big sizes conventional snap links are hard work to unclip.
Other Terminal Tackle Requirements
Terminal tackle hasn’t really evolved past the style of rigs that Rok Max have been providing for over 20 years. A 4ft bite trace of around 400lbs, attached by a snap link to a 12ft rubbing leader of 275-400lbs wire and your choice of main line is the normal set-up. We are repeatedly asked about monofilament rubbing traces and some anglers insist on using these above the 4ft bite trace. Our advice, based on the fact that we have seen to many sharks bite through mono traces, is to not recommend them for shark fishing. If the shark rolls, it has taken up the first 4ft of wire. If it rolls again its 4ft up the trace and if its mono, even a modest blue shark will slice through the line like a knife through butter. The reason for the link between the bite trace and the rubbing leader is to allow the skipper or angler to disconnect the bite trace safely.
Terminal tackle tends to be pretty standard for most types of shark fishing. There are two basic components, the rubbing leader and the bite trace. The rubbing leader (typically 12ft of stainless steel multistrand cable) is designed to stop the shark wearing through the line as it rubs against its rough skin (or teeth if it rolls on the leader). As the fish runs or dives its abrasive skin and tail will damage normal monofilament or braid and the leader will part. The wire rubbing leader is typically attached to the main line using a quality swivel. We use and recommend either 275lbs or 400lbs AFW 49 Strand Wire. View our full range of shark wire, traces and rigging to find out more.
At the other end of the rubbing leader is a snap link, to attach the bite trace. This is a 4-5ft length of multistrand cable, typically between 400 and 480lb with a Flemish loop for the snap-link to attach to at one end and the hook at the other. This section provides bite resistance against the shark’s formidable teeth. When a shark has been hooked and played to the side of the boat the skipper will decide if the shark is to be bought aboard. He will then disconnect the rubbing leader from the bite trace to ensure that only the short bite trace is attached to the shark. This is vital to prevent the shark rolling and tangling the wire, dragging tackle, equipment or anglers into the mess. Because there is no hardware on the end of the trace it is often easier unhook by pulling the hook and bite trace right through the hook hole to detach the shark.
i One important thing to note is that in certain cases the skipper may decide to cut the trace rather than remove the hook to prevent further damage. Always use hooks that will rust out quickly. There is a choice of using either circle or J hooks – some skippers insist on using circles to limit the number of deeply hooked sharks. Remember that the size of a circle hook is much smaller than the same sized J hook – so we would normally use 14/0 to 16/0 circles for most shark fishing.
Terminal tackle must be strong - there really is no point in using inferior gear. We've had several people phone up enquiring why their home-made traces failed... having used bicycle brake cable! Always use proper fishing wire, swivels, snap-links, crimps and quality hooks. Hooks should be either duratin or bronzed and never stainless steel which will not rust out if they are left in a fish. Components can be purchased from us to make your own traces or you can choose from our pre-assembled ranges. We have a lot of experience of making traces (Rok Max has been selling shark traces for over 20 years) and all are made in-house to order by our experienced staff. After use check your traces for any damage and signs of corrosion – either will weaken them. Always wash off in freshwater and dry thoroughly. Discard any you are suspicious of.
Shark Fishing Hooks
Most anglers now use Circle hooks for their shark fishing. This is a great thing to do as true circle hooks rarely get swallowed and the majority of sharks you catch will be well hooked in the corner of the mouth. As long as you reel down slowly onto a run your hook up rate will be good. If you strike as you would with a J-hook you will bounce the hook out of the shark’s mouth. Beware of baiting the hook so the gape blocked with the bait. This won’t work. An easy way to hook a baitfish on is to pass the hook through the lower and upper jaws just behind the baits nose. That way the hook is not obscured and hook ups should be easy.
In certain circumstances a J-hook is preferable – this is when, for whatever reason, the shark doesn’t have time to take the bait and swim off with it. A good example would be when you are trolling a bait behind a boat.
Floats / Balloons
My preference is for a balloon attached to the line by a Fisher King Balloon Clip. The big advantage of these is you can inflate the balloon more or less to get the exact amount of buoyancy required. Less buoyancy means less resistance when a shark picks up the bait – this can be important if they are in a finicky mood.
Other things to try
In recent years shark anglers have got quite inventive with adding things to their traces to make their bait look more attractive. Our customers have had good success with the following:-
1. Stand-Up Tackle Setup
Most commonly blue sharks will be fished for with a rod rated 20lbs class or more. To get the maximum fun from each shark you catch steer clear of excessively heavy tackle. The rod will typically be around 7ft teamed with a quality multiplier reel capable of holding 300 yards or more of 25-40lb nylon monofilament. A smooth drag is a must to allow the shark take line during the fight without incident. If you intend to use a fighting harness, you will need a reel with lugs to clip the harness on to. Most anglers like to wear a light fighting belt to spread the load across the waist, while a harness would benefit those with back issues or of less than average fitness. Nylon monofilament lines are popular for shark fishing as they offer a degree of stretch to cushion the hook hold and offer greater abrasion resistance than braid. Monofilament and braided lines are not a good mix on the same boat – if you intend using braid it will pay to ask the skipper if this is ok before the day. Discover our full range of shark fishing lines before speaking to your skipper.
For targeting the bigger blues and porbeagles at the beginning or end of the season you may consider upping the line class. For shark fishing in the UK there is generally no need for tackle over 50lbs class.
Please browse through our range of shark rods and shark reels - there's a wide variety available for all fishing techniques.
Below we discuss a couple of other approaches to shark tackle for the more adventurous and experienced angler.
2. Fly Tackle Setup
For something very different and exciting, we can look at shark fly fishing tackle. We are not talking about chasing rainbow trout here, so forget any aspirations of trying to adapt reservoir or river gear. We are talking about specialist single-handed rods that are made for chasing fish such as tarpon or sailfish. These ultra-light rods matched with quality fly reels, with plenty of drag and line capacity are very capable of taking and beating blue sharks and even porbeagles in the right hands. We must stress that this is fishing with a fly rod as opposed to fly fishing. There is no casting involved and the terminal tackle is the same as would be used for the traditional method, including the use of fish strips in conjunction with the fly. Such outfits are deceptively powerful and certainly good fun to fish with. One of the benefits of fishing using fly gear is that you are always holding the rod and in direct contact with any enquiries at the business end.
3. Spinning Setup
Finally, there has been a recent trend towards heavy spinning tackle (the type of rods and reels used for giant trevally and tuna). There are a number of spinning outfits capable of handling sharks, but favourite would be a high quality saltwater fixed-spool reel loaded with braid and matched with a rod designed for popper fishing, such as the Daiwa Saltist Popping Rod. This is an 8ft lure rod with immense power, but surprisingly effective for taming most sharks. Just be mindful of previous comments about using braid.
While fly and spinning tackle are more sporting methods of approach, consider that both will be more strenuous than standard gear that could be used with a harness.
Footwear: It is best to wear some form of waterproof footwear with a decent grip. Walking boots are good as they are tough and comfortable to stand up in for long periods of time. Expect your footwear to come into contact with chum, oil and all sorts of other smelly residue.
Clothing: There is usually ample storage on board so take sufficient layers to ensure you don’t get cold. If you are going to be helping prepare chum and bait then waterproof over trousers are a good idea. Take waterproof and windproof clothing on every trip just in case.
Gloves: You'll be handling wire, hooks and knives throughout the day, so it's advisable to have a pair of fishing gloves to hand. They will also help you grip your fishing gear far better than wet hands.
Shark Fishing Top Tips & Techniques
There are several methods for catching sharks but perhaps the most common is setting up a chum trail and then suspending fish baits below floats. Several baits can be fished at different distances, with the furthest bait set the deepest as the chum slick spreads wider and deeper away from the boat. The reel is set on ratchet and the rod placed in a holder ready. This is where the use of fly gear excels as the rod is always being held. There are no floats and the depth of the bait is controlled by the distance from the boat and the density of fly line used. Don’t leave the fish to run for too long before setting the hook otherwise it will be deeply hooked. For most situations we prefer to use circle hooks – this will ensure the majority of the sharks caught will be lip hooked.
Trolling: This method involves trolling weighted fish baits either with or without a chum slick. It may be that sharks are attracted to the boat as they associate trawlers with food as the as discarded fish are thrown overboard giving an easy meal. You can also chum as the boat trolls slowly, then back track through the slick you have created. What is certain is that this method is very effective in the USA. It’s considered a good method to target the larger porbeagles and mako sharks over this side of the Atlantic. The standard leader and bite trace are used, but care must be taken to ensure any fish bait doesn’t spin and twist up your traces. Always use high quality ball bearing swivels with this method. A large muppet over the head of the fish bait will also reduce twisting. Traces will also need to be weighted. There are a few purpose made shark trolling lures available. We sell a 16oz chisel head lure designed for trolling for mako’s in the USA. There is room for a lot of experimentation with this technique.
Fly Gear: We have discussed the use of fly fishing gear for sharks, but this method is very similar to standard chumming and drifting techniques. The difference is that the rods are always held, and everyone can fish at the same time. The lines are paid back at different distances and depth is regulated by the type of line used, but you are always in direct contact with what is going on. It is amazing the amount of enquiries you feel on the line when using this method. You can also impart some action to the lure if you suspect that a shark is investigating to trigger a take.
Handling and Unhooking
We now advocate releasing sharks in the water, alongside the boat. We do not recommend taking the shark out of the water unless absolutely necessary.
To Chum or Not To Chum
Well we would never be able to reveal the exacting ingredients of some of the top skippers without ending up in the mix, but needless to say opinions and techniques vary. What is certain is that you must maintain a decent chum trail and that doesn’t mean sticking a bag over the rail at the start of the day and forgetting it. Chumming can be hard work and the best skippers are evident in their efforts to maintain a decent slick behind the boat. If conditions on the day mean you are not going to be able to achieve much of a drift to extend the chum trail, then consider power chumming, where you actually chum into the prop wash for the last half a mile or so to your chosen spot. This will give you a much better start if the tide or wind are reducing the drift.
Mixes vary, but you won’t go far wrong with a blend of mashed mackerel or herring, some horse bran to retain the oils, some fish oil, and some water to blend it. Make up a large enough batch to keep refreshing the chum sacks suspended round the boat as a strong and unbroken chum trail is often the key to success.
Halibut pellets add oil and release it at different speeds so these can be added to the mix.
Another tip is to pre-freeze your chum mix into blocks. This makes transporting easier, and can save time on the day. While it was always a traditional part of shark fishing to catch and make the chum, anglers now tend to buy their mackerel in bulk so they can make the most of their day actually fishing. For hook baits, consider mackerel, herring, squid and even trout, which is surprisingly successful and toughens up in salt water.
Shark Fishing Safety Basics
On Board: Some shark charter boats travel long distances to the grounds, so stow the gear as instructed and don’t start assembling rods or traces until it’s safe to do so.
Sharp knives and hooks: Be sensible, apart from the fact that a deep cut or hook injury miles from shore is going to be serious and potentially write the day off, minor injuries could spoil your enjoyment. Stow knives after use, only prepare bait in areas instructed and keep hooks and rigs in wallets and not left trailing around the deck or hung from somewhere where they could catch somebody. The skipper will give you a safety briefing before you set off and answer any questions you may have.
We hope everyone has a great Shark season in 2022 with plenty of calm sunny days on the water.
Allan and Gordon
Choosing a Charter Boat
It is unfortunate that some of the best known and successful boats are booked for the year or even into the following year, and it is difficult to break into the boats regular client group but there are plenty of boats available. Before you book with a charter just check a few basic points. If the boat hasn’t got any bookings is there a reason? Catch history will be the main stay in a boats popularity so do your research. Cost wise expect to pay anything between £400 and £800 per day for a charter boat offering shark fishing, but factor in your travel, accommodation, food and any tackle or bait required. Consider also how many of you will be fishing. If you are targeting summer blues then you are far more likely to achieve a higher shark per rod average than if you are setting out to catch a big back end shark, so look at the cost per head balanced with the prospects. Book well in advance. You may be lucky to pick up a cancellation and it is always worth leaving your details so a skipper can call you if he is let down.
For those of you lucky enough to have your own boats then this is not an issue but in either case, you cannot beat the weather! It is an unfortunate part of shark fishing that some trips are lost to bad weather conditions, which is frustrating when you have planned so far in advance.
Previous Shark Fishing Season Updates
We're happy to report that Rok Max customers have certainly made the headlines!
Firstly, Stuart Cross caught one of the biggest porbeagle sharks recorded in the UK fishing with top skipper Jerry Rogers of Fast Cats Fishing in Cornwall. The shark, part of a catch of 6 over a two day trip, was estimated around 600lbs and would certainly have rocked the UK record but was released safely to fight another day. Well done Stuart!
Not to be out done, thresher specialist Stewart Newell caught and released two threshers in the same day off the IOW in August. The larger of the two sharks weighed an estimated 350lbs. 2016 definitely saw an increase in thresher catches with charter and private boats getting in on the action, particularly in the south west.
In Somerset Dan Hawkins, skipper of Reel Deal in Watchet, had one estimated at 360lbs, which he reckons there is every chance of repeating the encounters this year. Many commercial fishermen have reported threshers already this year close to the coast-line so the signs are good.
Quote from Whitby Charter Boat Skipper, Richard Ward
"We are looking forward to some good shark fishing again this year. Hopefully 2016 will be as good as the past few years with our best year up to now being 2014 when we boated 11 shark on 9 trips during the season. Our season at Whitby starts when the mackerel start showing themselves in good numbers. That can be as early as mid-May some years. Usually the best sharking is from June onwards. Our best shark to date is just over 360lbs. We have had several now around the 300 - 320lb mark since we started. We have also had a good number of 'pups' around the 90 - 120lb mark. The water temperature is up slightly at the moment on last year so if this remains the same from now on, the prospects should be quite good. All shark gear can be provided on our trips although a good number of our regular anglers have their own. All calls are welcome between 8 am and 8 pm, my mobile numbers are 07733 233352 & 07747 848406 (always with me), the land line is 01947 603472" - www.shy-torque2000.com
"We will be concentrating on the porbeagles this year. The average size drops away as we go into summer before the bigger fish return in the autumn be we will be targeting them right through this year.” - Dan Hawkins
Despite the increase in the numbers of threshers, there were no reports of any makos being successfully caught.
We asked a few of the top guys why they thought last year saw more sharks, and the general feedback was the warmer water temperatures were increasing the stocks of bait fish, which in turn were bringing the season forward and encouraging the numbers of other predators.
In 2017 we mentioned that six-gilled sharks were a possibility but required specialist tactics. Well they are now a reality thanks to those specialist tactics employed by regular big fish hunter, Mike Sherwood from Ireland. Mike spent 2 years trying to target the shark before finally getting a beauty estimated at over 1000lbs alongside the boat. The beast was taken on an 800lbs wire trace with a 16/0 7731 hook. Well done Mike.
In Yorkshire Richard Ward said:
“We have already had reports of porbeagles off Whitby this season which is unusually early so we are already making plans to put our anglers in with the chance of a shark up here.” - Richard Ward
On the blue shark front, the fishing was as predictable as ever, with many anglers getting their first taste of the sport. This really is a great way for anglers to get into the sport and the cost of a typical trip, split between a party make this incredible value for money. For those of you brave enough or inquisitive enough, Nigel Hodge in Falmouth is even offering diving for these sharks as well as fishing but he assures us he keeps the two activities separate!
"We have a new boat this year so we are really looking forward to this season. The bait fish are here in abundance so early signs are we are in for a great season” - Nigel Hodge
Off the Pembroke coast in South Wales Andrew Alsop and White Water added a blue shark of 242lbs to their haul of Welsh records, and now hold the top spot for blue, porbeagle and mako shark.
Quote from South West Charter Boat Skipper, Chippy
"We think the prospects for sharking this season are looking good. The temperature is higher than this time last year and the mackerel are here already. We tend to start the blue shark fishing around the first week in May, but it's earlier for the porbeagles. Last year we had 1004 sharks and our best day was 112... quite possibly the best day ever recorded in the UK but in all honesty, it’s not all about the numbers. I advocate the use of circle hooks and last year we only cut off 8 hooks in 1004 sharks. I think you agree that's some great statistics and of course, good for the sharks. We also encourage the use of heavy duty spinning gear as a sporting approach. The season is looking good, but of course it's down to weather but I hope to see some of you soon." - www.biteadventures.com
Apart from the Isle of Wight, shark fishing is often overlooked in the channel. However this year Manta Ray of Katfish Charters, owned by Alan Thomset, is offering shark fishing. Taking advantage of its speed, Manta Ray can access some specific wreck marks and is fully kitted out to target the big porbeagles known to habit some of the marks.
”We will be taking advantage of the speed of Manta Ray and targeting the probeagles and threshers on some marks where we know they are present. We have had Pollock bitten off already this season so we know they are there.” - Alan Thomset
On a general note, the warmer sea temperature and abundance of bait fish mean the prime grounds of the south west and west wales should have a great season so let's hope those threshers and even mako appears again. With the arrival of tuna last year, then who knows what might follow them if they make a re-appearance as we all hope.
Quote from Welsh Charter Boat Skipper, Nick O'Sullivan
"Celtic Charter has been shark fishing for 17 years and each year has been an improvement on the last. We first visited the shark grounds during July and August as a break from inshore fishing on spring tides. We steamed out about 20 to 25 miles and spent the day on a long drift. Catches were mostly blue shark and for a change the odd porbeagle shark. These days we travel up to 35/40 miles offshore and the season has extended from late May through to Mid-October, I think the sharks are around for a while longer but the weather and less daylight hours are against a good days fishing. The pattern for most seasons is for porbeagle sharks to appear in late May and early June, joined by the blue shark in late June. From then on through to mid-October almost anything can happen. In recent years there has been an increase in the catches of porbeagles and a mako (in 2013) plus two thresher sharks (in 2015) were caught and landed within a week of one another on different boats in the area. If previous years are anything to go by I think the prospects are good for the 2016 season, all we need is a little better weather. I am never surprised at what is caught out there, who knows but one day soon, maybe this season, a great white will take a bait. Celtic Wildcat will be available for shark trips from the last week of May. The season usually ends about mid-October." - www.celticwildcat.com